If your calling is haunted house attractions, there are plenty that will serve your needs! But when it comes to choosing which one to try, there are special tactics you can use in order to pinpoint the ultimate haunt.

Patrons wait in line on Halloween at Ultimate Terror Scream Park
Patrons wait in line on Halloween at Ultimate Terror Scream Park in Sacramento, California.

First off, haunted houses come in all shapes and sizes and range from kid friendly to adults having nightmares for weeks. There is something for everybody! But it can be difficult when it comes time to choosing only one, especially based off of who you are going with and what your forte is. Haunted attractions can be outdoors or indoors, and the two vary quite a bit.

Indoor haunted attractions provide a more claustrophobic atmosphere, and because of this, have the opportunity to be the scariest type of attraction. Indoor haunted attractions are also, on average, more detailed because the staff can work on them year-round. The lines for indoor haunted attractions often have one large line to enter all of the attractions, and so you can expect to wait a while for the experience to begin, and then you will oftentimes have the entire experience all at once, which can last anywhere from 10 to 40 minutes, depending on the attraction. Some indoor attractions have indoor or covered wait lines, while others have outdoor waiting areas. If the weather is not so good, you may want to look on their FAQ page to see if their lines are indoors or outdoors. Since indoor attractions have the potential to be the scariest of the different types of attractions, the main demographic for indoor attractions is patrons aged 18 to 39.

A terrifying indoor manor scene inside Hush Haunted Attraction
A terrifying indoor manor scene inside Hush Haunted Attraction in Westland, Michigan.

For guests who want the scariest experience at an indoor attraction, look for attractions that offer black-out nights where all of the haunted house lights are turned off and patrons are given only a glow stick or a flashlight to navigate the labyrinths. Black-out nights are usually offered on the first weekend of November.

Glow Stick Fright Nights is a black-out event at Fear Overload Scream Park
Glow Stick Fright Nights is a black-out event at Fear Overload Scream Park in the SF Bay Area.

Next, some indoor haunted houses allow the actors to touch the patrons. Although we don’t recommend these attractions, there is a niche demographic looking for this type of entertainment. Guests should be aware that the haunted houses that allow touching are usually smaller attractions and most of the time require the attendees to sign a waiver.

Outdoor haunted attractions have their pros and cons as well. Outdoor attractions have the capability of being larger and have the element of the outdoor atmosphere on their side. Nothing can compare with the atmosphere of a full moon at a haunted scream park! Outdoor haunted attractions generally have between three and six attractions, each with their own wait line. Therefore, you can split up your experience throughout the entire night. You can expect to spend anywhere from one to four hours at an outdoor scream park, and so make sure to arrive early so that you can experience everything. Many outdoor attractions offer food services and food trucks on location. Usually partnerships between the vendors and the haunts, it makes the event feel more authentic and neighborly. People may want a beverage, sometimes even alcoholic, or snack before or after their time of being scared. One potential downside is that the haunted houses at an outdoor scream park are generally less detailed than the indoor ones because they have to withstand the elements and may need to be disassembled each year. In addition, the attraction is certainly affected by the elements, and so there is likely little cover in the case of rain or snow.

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Some outdoor scream parks even include a hayride as one of their attractions, which can really make for a great experience. Haunted hayrides thrive off of the element of the outdoors, being able to shepherd the patrons through forests, cornfields, or even apocalyptic wastelands in the back of a tractor-pulled wagon. The hayride is usually the main attraction at these types of events, and the experience on the haunted hayride can range anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. The best hayrides include pyrotechnics, animatronics, and animations. Although actors can jump onto the wagon at some attractions, haunted hayrides are usually the least scary of the different types of attractions, and are perfect for families and children.

Patrons experience animatronics and pyrotechnics on the haunted hayride at Hanna Haunted Acres
Patrons experience animatronics and pyrotechnics on the haunted hayride at Hanna Haunted Acres in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Finally, the last batch of outdoor haunted attractions are categorized as haunted woods or trails. These events are on foot where the patrons navigate the windy trail of a woods or corn maze. These events are creepy and certainly get you in the mood for Halloween, but of course, are also fully exposed to the elements. When it rains a lot, it is haunted trails and haunted hayrides that are the first to shut down temporarily to avoid hazards.


Now that you’ve chosen the type of haunted attraction that you’d like to go to, the next step is investigating each attraction’s Google Reviews. Listed on our website under each featured haunted attraction is the attraction’s Google Review rating so that you can quickly browse between attractions. It is important to keep in mind that not everyone is a haunted house fan. Some reviews have the potential of being biased, however most of the time, it is usually fans who express their opinions the most. But reviews can uncover more than just, “is it fun?” They can reveal if the place is safe or not. People definitely will mention hazards if they ever became apparent. Usually, it is the very established haunted attractions, the ones that have been around the longest, that get the most praise for their safety and craft.

Patrons stand in line at Bayville Scream Park
Patrons stand in line at Bayville Scream Park, a highly rated haunted attraction in Long Island, New York.

After researching the haunted attractions’ reviews, you may want to compare prices. Tickets to a haunted house attraction typically cost between $25 and $40 per person, with the exception of Fast Pass Tickets, which are usually $10 to $20 more per ticket. Fast Pass Tickets can be a great option to enhance your experience and reduce the wait time by roughly 2/3rds. On the busy nights, this could save you anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of waiting in lines. Some haunted attractions also charge for parking, and so you can check their FAQ pages to see if they do.

Next, if you are choosing a haunted house to attend for a large group, like for a corporate event, church outing, or bus tour, you may want to see which attractions offer group discounts. Depending on the size of your group (say, 20 or more), some attractions will offer between 15% and 40% off tickets for your large group. Make sure to do your research ahead of time and to email the attraction well in advance to reserve your discounted price. Not all attractions offer a discounted price for groups, and the ones that do may take a while to respond during the heat of October.

Patrons reacting to a scare at the Ultimate Terror Scream Park
Patrons reacting to a scare at the Ultimate Terror Scream Park in Sacramento, California.

If you are set on wearing your costume to a haunted house attraction, you may want to check out their FAQ page first to see if they allow costumes. Most attractions welcome costumes, but disallow masks and costume accessories.

Also important to note is the number of individuals a haunted house will allow to enter the haunted houses at a time. For example, if you are set on all eight of your friends entering the haunted house at the same time, you may want to check their FAQ page to see if the attraction will allow that. Most haunted houses max the number to six; and frankly, we recommend you split your group up anyways so that the experience is more immersive. But if you are absolutely set on all members of your group entering together, make sure to visit their FAQ page.

So Visit a Haunted House Attraction!

All in all, you should visit a haunted house attraction this Halloween season! If you have never been to a professional haunted house before, then you are in for a treat. Haunted houses allow us to experience our primal fears in a controlled environment. They can be fantastic stress relievers, and are a blast to share with family and friends. Please use our site as a guide to find the best haunted house attraction for you. To see attractions in your area, click here.